A plant-based diet can help your mental health

local news

Odessa, TEXAS (Big 2/Fox 24) -Keeping up with mental health can be difficult sometimes, but for some people, what you eat can make a big difference. 

 ” What we encourage people to address, is nutrient-rich foods, and mineral-rich foods.  Some of the examples of minerals and nutrients that help with brain function and mental health are Zinc, Omega -3’s, vitamin C, Iron, vitamin D, magnesium, just to name a few things,” says Centers Marketing & Development Director Melanie Saiz.

Saiz recommends checking your vitamin levels through a blood test at the doctor’s office. If you’re low on any, the doctor can make suggestions for you to get back on track. Edwards say beans, seeds, fruits, and vegetables can fuel your whole body to perform better.

“It also increases your gut bacteria promoting a healthy gut biome, which decreases inflammation. And there’s so many things with our diets these days that cause inflammation and people are like, ‘Oh I’m lactose intolerant or you know, I can’t have red meat’ when part of it may just be that you’re having too much of some of those things and none of the good things,” says Centers Executive Director Kristi Edwards.  

Plant-based foods can also boost your serotonin levels, which is a “feel good” hormone. Edwards explains that mental health and physical health can have an impact on each other.

“We always encourage the physical, in the hope that the mental health will uplift. What we also know is that sometimes, if your mental state is good, you’re going to feel like doing some of the other things. So it is very intertwined,” says Edwards.

Whether you want to become a vegan, or just add more fruits or vegetables into your meals, incorporating those foods is a great start.

“A healthy diet affects brain health by boosting your brain development. We all know that whenever you’re eating healthy, and as we go along, we’re going to try and explain what we mean by healthy. It’s not like a diet, it’s like eating healthy. So a healthy palate will change your brain proteins and enzymes to increase neurotransmitters, and the transmitters,” says Edwards.  

 Be sure to talk to your doctor before you start any health program. For more information about plant-based diets, you can listen to the Centers podcast

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